Keith Olbermann Suspended for Making Political Donations

Keith OlbermannMSNBC has suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely after the host of Countdown With Keith Olbermann was accused of making donations to three Democratic political candidates in violation of the network's ethics policy. This is a blunder from which the 51-year-old may never recover.

Olbermann donated $2,400 each to Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

As Olbermann was no doubt aware, these sorts of donations are a matter of public record, and someone was bound to find out about it sooner or later. So, the question is why Olbermann would do something that would make him look bad and get him into trouble with his employer. In particular, he should have also realized that his donations would come back to haunt him because he has scolded executives at Fox News, whose parent company News Corp. (NWS) made two $1 million donations to Republican and Republican-leaning groups during the midterm election cycle.

"Mind-boggling is a good phrase," says Al Tompkins, senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute, in an interview, adding that Olbermann violated the ethical codes of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association. "It continues to reinforce the idea that MSNBC is pro-Democrat."

The Partisan Trail

Indeed, Olbermann and his MSNBC colleagues were scolded in the media for making intemperate comments during Tuesday night's midterm election triumph by the Republicans. Earlier this week, Olbermann stunned viewers by announcing that he was suspending his "Worst Persons In The World" segment with the intention of scrapping it outright. The feature often gave the "honor" to Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, and to many viewers it had became tiresome.

Last year, the broadcaster said he was caught flat-footed by his program's failure to disclose that regular guest Richard Wolffe worked for a lobbying firm, though his position was widely publicized at the time. Reportedly no longer working in lobbying, Wolffe remains an MSNBC contributor.

In his defense of the donations, Olbermann said in statement that "I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level." The liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America says "more than 30 Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances."

While that may be true, it's no excuse. According to Politico, the recipients of Olbermann's generosity were guests on his show.

In the end, his money helped produce mixed results. Conway was trounced by Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, a frequent target of Olbermann's critical barbs. Grijalva and Giffords are expected to win their races.

Olbermann's career is probably finished at MSNBC. But if Dan Rather could find a job after his tenure ended abruptly at CBS, Olbermann probably can too.

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rosamonte

When is Olbermann going to cease referring to his antics as journalism. His daily childish spouting of "BLANK" days since the previous president declared mission accomplished is now replaced with "BLANK" days since the John Boehner and the republicans took over the house.... Perhaps "Butch" Madow should inform Olbermann that the newly elected republican congress isn't swornin until January.

November 09 2010 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kltch

I THOUGHT THE EXECUTIVES AT MSNBC FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT BY "DUMPING" K.O. I GUESS PUTTING HIM BACK BEHIND THE DESK IS ANOTHER INDICATION WHY THE PROGRAM RATINGS CONTINUE TO BE IN THE CELLAR. THE EXECUTIVES AT THE STATION SHOULD BE FIRED FOR PERPETUALLY MAKING POOR PROGRAMMING DECISIONS ! IF THE EXECUTIVES AT THE STATION HAD ANY GREY MATTER,THEY WOULD GET RID OF K.O. AND GET SOMEONE INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO COMPETE WITH FOX REPORTING.

November 08 2010 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
danny

If anybody in the U.S. knew a little bit about history they would know that our founding fathers had no intentions of allowing corporate lobbying or corporate financing-period. It wasn't until the supreme court in 1886(Southern Pacific Railroad vs. Santa Clara County) that this nonsense came to be. And over 40 attempts since then, have they tried to "reform" campign financing and corporate lobbying. Now, for a man to lose his job for contributing monies the way he did seems like it would be in violation of his constitutional rights-right? What sort of laws would prevent a citizen of this country to not have the right to endorse a candidate or contribute to a campaign? Because it is in violation of the corporation he works for, for him to contribute or endorse someone financially(not publicly, because of his job as host/analyst/whatever) running for office? Isn't that bass ackwards? Would you accept from your employer to do the same and not have the opportunity to endorse a candidate running for office? Sadly many of you do and even more would be glad to. Sorry- not me. Im not stupid enough to follow mainstream- therefore I do not watch him, but this has got to be pretty ignorant of people to think he did anything wrong. THE PROBLEM IS CORPORATE DONATIONS AND INFLUENCE FROMN THAT MONEY. People get to know your true history. Read and understand what sort of threat we face from corporations. Jefferson in 1816 wrote to George Logan, In this respect England exhibits the most remarkable phenomenon in the universe in the contrast between the profligacy of it's government and the probity of it's citizens. And accordingly it is now exhibiting an example of the truth of the maxim that virtue & interest are inseparable. It ends, as might have been expected, in the ruin of it's people, but this ruin will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing the catastrophe. I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it's birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. This was in 1816, some 50 years before the supreme court decision. Then of course you have the one- I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed) 3rd president of US (1743 - 1826) BETTER WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 07 2010 at 1:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lindap1014

Keith Olbermann is a hero! He sponsors health clinics around the country and helps a lot of people. He is a good guy! Why aren't the haters like Glen Beck and Rush Linbaugh suspended for their hateful speech? Why aren't people like Pat Buchanan suspended for his contributions to Republicans? Is the president of MSNBC a closet Republican lover? He is going to cost his station a lot of viewers. Reinstate Keith now and restore his pay! He earned it!

November 07 2010 at 1:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
otterdad48

Do I hear the pot calling the kettle black?

November 06 2010 at 11:38 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
otterdad48

test

November 06 2010 at 11:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
henshib

Not a guy I want to hang with. Always look miserable.

November 06 2010 at 4:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

The demoncrats take more and more from we the people, not realizing they, like parasites will eventually kill the host animal (our country) and as a result themselves. Stupidity reigns supreme.

November 06 2010 at 4:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Robert & Lisa's comment
otterdad48

Hypocrisy thy name is FOX.

November 06 2010 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rosamonte

Great analogy!!!

November 09 2010 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

How did someone so stupid ever get that kind of job?

November 06 2010 at 4:23 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
philschellenger

who the hell cares ,nobody gives a dam flush the turd.

November 06 2010 at 1:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply